Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Food & Books

On Food-

So many of you have asked me about this "Paleo thing" I am doing. I don't write a lot about food on here, but Paleo for me is about so much more than food. I've said before I'm a sugar addict and I lived for so long using food to deal with emotions. I have dealt with acne for years, and have had a constant fight to lose weight only to gain it back after giving up trying to live without sugar. All of these things lead to me trying something different.

So I started the Paleo diet mainly to see if it would help my skin. I refused to go vegan, so it seemed like the most viable option. Basically it is eating only meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. I know, it sounds like torture and I was convinced it would be, but I was willing to try. I'm not going to lie, the first 10 days were not fun. I had to push through the lack of energy and sugar withdrawals. But once I made it past week two I got some energy and noticed my skin clearing up.

The 2 months leading up to my start date when I talked about it I wanted to cry. Food was a big part of my life. I planned holidays and get togethers around it. For me it was about the food. People too, of course, but the food was a biggie. I get that food is that way for most people, but it was extreme for me. I was addicted. And yes I did feel horrible after indulging in it too much but I was scared to give it up. It was my comfort in times of stress and sadness.

I told myself I would eat this way for 6 weeks and see what happened. After week one I was trying to talk myself into cutting it short, but by time I got to week 4 I was really loving it. I found myself not missing the foods I was most upset about giving up.

I am now in week 7 of eating Paleo. I have lost 11 pounds with very little exercise (that was not the plan, life has been a little busier than I thought so I haven't run as much as I would like to) and I feel really good about myself and am loving how good it feels not overindulging myself in high sugar foods. Do I still miss some things? Of course. But I am not controlled by food. I don't know for sure what this looks like for me long term, and I am not saying I will never eat bread or cheese or a cupcake again. But I can say I'm really loving this lifestyle and hope that I can do this at least 90% of the time.

Eating this way is hard work. There is a lot of planning, especially if you have to work or eat on the run. It does get so much easier the longer you do it, and I can say for sure I don't miss most processed foods, fast food, or my bloated stomach :)

On Books-

One of my goals for this year was to read one book at a time, not including the Bible (which I'm currently doing a reading plan on YouVersion to read the Bible through in a year). My pattern, before now, was reading about 4 books at a time. I found myself wanting to read so many because they are so good, but then can't finish them all because I'm doing too much. So I'm currently finishing up Love Does. I am cheating a little bit because I just couldn't help myself. I received an advanced copy of Bread and Wine and got so excited so I started that book while I finish up Love Does, a book everyone should read. I mean so so good. Here is my current book list some of you have asked for. If you have any amazing suggestions let me know. I'm always adding to my list.

1. Soul Revolution John Burke (finished)
2. Love Does Bob Goff (currently reading)
3. Wrecked Jeff Goins (halfway through)
4. Unglued Lysa Terkeurst (halfway through)
5. Bossy Pants Tina Fey
6. The Story
7. Crazy Love Francis Chan
8. One of Us Must Be Crazy....And I’m Pretty Sure It’s You Tim and Joy Downs
9. Staying Close Dennis and Barbara Rainey
10.The Life You’ve Always Wanted John Ortberg
11. Daring Greatly Dr. Brene Brown
12. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years Donald Miller
13. Bloom Kelly Hampton
14. Bread and Wine Shauna Nequist (available in April but just started reading my advanced copy so I can blog about it and post a review...coming soon.)
15. Start Jon Acuff (available in April)

So with that, think about what you are doing to care for yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. We spend so much time caring for others, sometimes we forget about ourselves. We can best help others when we take care of ourselves first.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Join the Club

It’s amazing what a little bit of searching can do for you. I was reading through some blogs Friday and there were more than I can read of mothers and families writing about their experiences with a special needs child or children. The more I read the more I saw that these are very strong people with powerful struggles and stories. Life has handed them some pretty tough stuff. But what I’ve found is the majority of them are thankful and joyful. They haven’t made excuses or allowed life to stop just because it’s hard. They have made the choice to be a light to others just like themselves who are struggling in the same areas.

I started to feel myself becoming more thankful to be a part of this community. This isn’t really a “club” I ever thought I would be a part of, or would have wanted to be a part of. But for me to turn down the opportunity to go ahead and embrace it is silly. There are thousands of parents just like me and Justin out there. All I have to do is accept that I am part of it and it only does great things. It allows me to feel less alone. To know other moms are feeling the same way I do. And to hear stories that will crush my heart and bring me to tears, help me to remember to be thankful, and stories that will inspire me and make me want to fight harder for my son.

For about 5 years I have, in my heart, rejected the invitation to be a part of this community. I guess just deep down it was just hard to accept. I know I’ve complained a thousand times and wished this struggle wasn’t part of our world. Of course I pray for recovery for Aiden, but I know in this season I need to be a part of this community and all it has to offer. I’m ready to join. I’m ready to jump in and let them be there for me and I pray I can be that for them as well. It doesn’t mean that Aiden will struggle with the same things forever. It just means for right now I’m embracing all that Autism means. I have written about Aiden’s struggles and what it’s like, but in my heart I don’t think I had ever fully accepted it. I hadn’t accepted that I was part of this amazing community.

In the past several years I have met some pretty amazing people. Giving, selfless people we call Aiden’s teachers and therapists. On hard days it’s difficult to be so open to all of this, but on great days I’m thankful there is so much help for us and I can see the bigger picture. To see the beauty of humanity displayed through people doing their part to serve others. For the ones that don’t teach, they give gifts or words of kindness and encouragement which means more than they know. I am determined to let this part of our life be used for something. I will be joyful even through the dark days, I will encourage those who just can’t see past today. I want to give hope to them too. This part of our life might just be a bit more difficult. But if we are open to it, it will change us in ways nothing else can. For that I’m thankful. And in my heart I am letting go of certain expectations and choosing to join the club.